When your baby's in the throes of a stomach bug, one nasty side effect is the mess -- who knew such a little person could regurgitate so much, not to mention all those leaky diarrhea diapers. But a much more serious consequence is the risk of dehydration, which can happen very quickly in an infant and cause dangerous complications, and even death. The good news: "Most babies can avoid dehydration just by eating," says Peter Belamarich, M.D., a pediatrician at the Children's Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, NY. If you breastfeed, he recommends you continue to nurse, giving your baby short, frequent feeds. Formula-fed babies should pass on their usual bottles and drink an electrolyte solution instead, until the vomiting subsides. If your baby refuses to eat, get out a medicine dropper and give her two or three teaspoons of the electrolyte solution every 15 minutes, and watch for these signs of dehydration:
Dry diapers. Your baby should be wetting six to eight diapers a day. If you find one is still dry a few hours after a change, check in with your doctor.
A dry, parched-looking mouth, sunken eyes, a sunken fontanel, and a lack of tears when your baby cries (once she's crying tears). Get your baby to the doctor if she shows even one of these symptoms.
Continued vomiting. If your baby has been throwing up consistently for 6 hours or sporadically for 24 hours, talk to your pediatrician.